Agriculture World

Government of India sets Rs 640 Crore for Seaweed Cultivation

Hitul Awasthi
Hitul Awasthi

Seaweeds are the macro algae growing in marine and shallow coastal waters. Recently, they have emerged as a new source of food, energy, chemicals and medicines. They are often termed as the ‘Medical Food of the 21st Century’ due to their use in treatment of goitre, cancer, bone-replacement therapy and cardiovascular surgeries.

In India, there are around 46 seaweed-based industries that are facing problems due to short supply of raw materials. These are used in the preparation of agar, agarose and carrageenan.

Scope of Seaweed cultivation in India –

Rich seaweed beds around Mumbai, Ratnagiri, Goa, Karwar, Varkala, Vizhinjam and Pulicat in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh; and Chilika in Odisha, provides a huge scope for the seaweed cultivation in India.

Seaweed cultivation will go a long way in supporting lives of coastal fisher-families, especially fisher-women, farmers and entrepreneurs. Keeping these things in mind, the government has setup a fund of around INR 640 crore for boosting seaweed cultivation in the country.

Seaweed species and their uses –

Red Seaweeds: Gelidiella acerosa, Gracilaria edulis and G. dura are used for manufacturing  Agar, Kappaphycus alvarezii used in manufacturing Carrageenan

Brown Seaweeds: Sargassum wightii and Turbinaria conoides are used for manufacturing of Alginates

Seed stock of seaweeds is collected from south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu.

Process and Locations for implementation of the project –

  1. In shallow coastal waters of maritime states
  2. Technological Partners - CSIR-Central Salt Marine and Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI), Gujarat and Mandapam Regional Centre, Tamil Nadu
  3. Implementing Agency – Department of Fisheries in coastal states/UTs
  4. Financial Assistance by National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB)

Conclusion –

The Government of India is trying to promote seaweed cultivation in such a way that, it enhances the income of fishers in the coastal areas. Through seaweed cultivation, the industry dependent on it as a source of raw material will get a boost, which in turn will help in generating employment in the country. Thus, Seaweed cultivation is a win-win condition for all. 

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